HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
I haven't bothered giving much thought to resolutions today. I always seem to spend much more time making them than I do keeping them, but I can't help but wonder if this could be (finally) the year of keeping the blog updated??? With two teenagers who homeschool and ONE computer in the family, my screen time is zilch most days. But we shall see. It is something I miss (and friends and family seem to as well) and it is so much fun to keep a record of what happens here.
I love every single crazy, rushed, frantic moment of December. Always. The pace is frantic, the schedule is crowded, the house is full (of both stuff and people), and it rushes past me far too fast for me to catch hold of it and savor it. So instead, I just give in to it every year. It's like picking up your feet in a wave pool and giving your whole self to the water....swirling and spinning and enjoying the ride as it carries you. This year was no different. I willingly jumped right into the vortex of the Christmas storm and took it for all it was worth. Having a kindergartner in the house at Christmas time means that fun is obligatory....as are messes and crafts and baking sessions and way too many decorations.
Today we started taking Christmas down. I always envied the "grown ups" in my life who talk about needing to get back to schedule and routine. I always hate to see Christmas end. I'm about 80% done getting it all packed away, but everyone knows it's that last 20% that will kill you dead. I needed to step away for a few minutes. :-)
I'm happy to welcome a new year, and I count happy holidays spent with the family we love as a great ending to 2013. The year started with the loss of Jeff's Grandmother and a health scare with Papa. My Mom sold her house and moved. There were big changes over the course of the year and a few struggles too, but that just made celebrating together all the sweeter.
Before we launch headlong into a new year of fresh memory making, I want to capture and reminisce about a few happenings from the past weeks.
Emma took her turn as star student at school, which kicked my competitive mother gene into overdrive, as I invested far too many hours designing the "ultimate" star student poster.
Luckily, Jackie was in town that night and helped take the edge off as she talked me down from my Mother of the Start Student ledge. She even sacrificed some of her valuable fantasy football time to come to the table and help with the poster. In the end, Emma was delighted, and I felt satisfied that I had managed to work seven pink patterned papers, glitter foam, and a giant daisy onto a single sheet of poster board.
We made the annual trek to Nana's house for the Sugar Cookie Extravaganza. She doesn't freak out about sprinkles on her floor the way I do, so she is a good sport about hosting every year. Of course, Kaylyn missed the baking AND the cleaning up (heckle, heckle) but got there in plenty of time for sampling.
My baby turned SIX YEARS OLD. Her request was a tall cake (not a flat one) and a Barbie horse.
It was a very good day!
We ventured to the quilt shop for our annual visit with Santa. He told us his favorite cookie is chocolate chip, which seemed like a reasonable thing to add to the "to do" list, but despite her asking me every single day, they never got made. We did manage to put reindeer food and a few carrots on the lawn though. Santa, next year I'll plan ahead and make a double batch!
We welcomed Hannah home for the holidays and did a little impromptu swing dancing on the square. I absolutely LOVE IT when my kids slip up and act like they genuinely like each other. ;-)
Emma played an angel in the school play.
The best part was when she stepped onto the stage and the shepherd stomped his foot and yelled "WOW"!! He knows a cute angel when he sees one.
I spent lots of sweet time with my Mom this year. We worked several jigsaw puzzles and cooked some yummy meals together. I enjoyed seeing her new tree in her new house and spending some much needed down time together. I can't believe I didn't get a single good picture to post here of her. I'm going to have to stalk her with the camera more in the coming year.
Christmas morning was merry and bright.
Every year I trap the kids on the stairs and refuse to let them to the presents before I've had my fill of pictures. They begrudgingly comply, but the grumbling definitely increases with age. ;-)
There was only one thing on the wish list this year, and Santa came through.
The American Girl doll horse Picasso now has a VERY proud new owner.
The Buzzard pulled out all the stops and gave me a BIG gift. One I have been wanting for a very long time, it is true. Whoever said romance is dead has never seen this man in action on Christmas Eve.
We had PLENTY of good laughs over that one!! The commode in our master bath overflows constantly.....and always when I'm running late or wearing super cute shoes! :-)
He even got it installed the day after Christmas. He's a prince, that one. A prince with a new throne.
I made a feed sack and horse coat for Picasso. I actually did quite a bit of Christmas sewing and need to get busy sharing more of that over on my quilt blog.
Picasso isn't the only new addition around here. Just before Thanksgiving, Hayden got a new bird. It's been a bit of a rough adjustment, but she has mellowed a lot and finally seems open to the idea of us being friends. Her name is Bella and she is a cinnamon pied cockatiel. She got a brand new cage for Christmas!
Around lunch time on Christmas Day we headed up to the farm for family time.
We had a HUGE surprise waiting for Emma up there.
Papa is a magician. He can wander into his barn and accomplish just about anything.
VERY shortly before Christmas (as in, no advanced warning) I was browsing Pinterest and came upon the plans for an American Girl horse barn. I instantly knew Picasso could be very happy there. :-)
Papa toiled and labored and pulled off a Christmas miracle for me! (I told him I'm completely prepared for him to revoke my Pintestest privileges next year.) Anyway, I can't imagine an idea that could ever top this one. The boys went up and helped Papa a few days. It was a family affair that we were ALL super excited about. This was definitely one of those gifts where the givers are a million times more excited than the receiver every could be!
She was O-V-E-R the moon happy, and this sweet stable has seen hours of play time already.
On December 30th this handsome gent turned a whopping
I'm so proud of this one. All my kids inspire me; each in their own unique way. This one...he's fiercely rewarding. God has something big in store for him. He is finding his place in this world and stepping out to leave his mark. It is a mark of determination, courage, and compassion. I can hardly wait to see what his future holds.
Last night we hosted our annual New Year's Eve bash. Every year we overdose on appetizers so that we are in a food coma by midnight.
We played Perpetual Commotion, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Logo.
We counted down the new year, and by precisely 12:13 everyone was out the door with their left overs in hand. I think this is a major sign of getting older!
I asked Nana this morning if they popped any corks last night and she said, "Are you kidding me? We don't even drink Diet Coke after 4pm!!" Ha ha ha!!!
Ending one year and starting another with a (messy) house filled with friends and family is what it's all about. I'm forever learning how to balance more efficiently....fitting more in, being more on time, organizing better, meeting more needs, taking more initiative, tying up more loose ends, staying more consistent, and trying, in general, to have way less to apologize for.
I fall short on all counts, for the most part. But the people who matter most to me always seem to look past that and show up to help make December crazier, busier, louder, messier, and WAY TOO MUCH FUN. I'm so thankful for the wild ride, and for all the many blessings of this past month.
And most especially, for that Baby born in Bethlehem.
The one who lives on in our hearts and in our lives and who DOES NOT get packed away with all the other trimmings and trappings of a crazy month.
May 2014 be to His honor, His service, and His glory!!